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John Kimura Sopogy Big Island Representative and John Moses Hawaiian Firm Shrinks Concentrating Solar Power

Perhaps it's not surprising that balmy Hawaii is home to a company that's pushing the envelope of solar thermal technology. Start-up Sopogy, based in Honolulu, has taken the basic design of large solar thermal power plants and shrunk it down so it can fit on a building's roof.

Demo models of its electricity-generating solar collectors--essentially metal half-pipes with a reflective coating--are now being tested with a Fortune 500 company and a few utility customers, according to company president and CEO Darren Kimura.

To expand, this fall the venture-funded company intends to raise an additional $9 million, which it hopes to secure by the end of the year, he said.

Concentrating solar power, or CSP, uses reflective troughs or dishes to concentrate sunlight to heat a liquid that flows through a pipe above the troughs. That heated liquid, which can be oil or water, is converted into steam to turn an electric turbine.

Concentrating Solar for Hawaii Millions of visitors flock to Hawaii every year in search of the sun and thanks to the Hawaii State government, that sun is to be used for more than just perfect tans. June 29 2007, Governor Linda Lingle authorized a $10 million Special Purpose Revenue Bond to construct the first solar concentrated farm in the State of Hawaii. The Bond will partially finance the development of a 3.5 Mw solar farm at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii (NELHA) on the island of Hawaii.

Hawaii technology solutions for Hawaiian energy problems The solar farm will use Sopogy’s patented solar concentrating panels that are specifically designed for tropical, coastal and rooftop installations. These panels protect all optics, reflectors and vital system components from the elements and storms. rare land availability.



Kip Dopp Sopogy's SopoNova Product DeveloperHard Work Pays Off

Darren Kimura learned early to use his imagination.

Growing up on the Big Island, the emerging renewable energy entrepreneur didn’t have much entertainment to distract him.

“A lot of successful business people come from the Big Island,” he said. “The key about Big Island is we go out and make something happen, we don't just wait to buy it.”

Kimura, 32, is president, CEO and chairman of Sopogy Inc., which the state in June approved for $10 million in special purpose revenue bonds for a new solar farm power plant in West Hawaii.

Kimura attended Waiakea High, the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he studied business, and Portland State University, where he studied electrical engineering. He started Energy Industries here in Hilo while on summer break from Manoa.